Tribal masks from West Africa show ancestors, spirits and invisible forces. Into common ceremonial events, the people express moral and important social and religious values of the community, with the African tribal masks a symbolic and artistic reflection provides this value.
The specific associations of African masks are very different in the different tribes, but it is universal that the artists create masks, as well as the people who wear the masks during ceremonies are held in high esteem.
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Therefore, only certain men can wear the masks. These men are either chiefs or kings, the elders of the tribe or perhaps those with high social status.
Mask making is widespread among the Maasai to produce some amazing works of art. The art of mask-making is passed from father to son. Together with the teachings of the process of mask design is, incorporating the teachings of the symbolic meaning of each component in the mask.
Dances from West Africa, where masks are worn, includes most ceremonies and events like initiation rites, weddings, births and deaths. It is believed that when a person puts on a ritual that individual losses conceal a personal identity and so the mind is that represents the mask.
This modification of the individual is supported by additional costumes, especially dance moves and specific music. What happens to this transformation is that the individual embodies a medium for communication between members of the community and the spirit is made possible by the mask carrier.
Each rule whether it be the ancestors, nature or magic, has a pantheon of spirits and these spirits have their own mask. It can display as many as nearly 100 masks any being or power and honor.